What can you do when your flight is delayed or cancelled?

Ryanair

With Ryanair’s massive cancellations recently, air passengers are understandably getting very frustrated. Being stranded at the airport often makes us feel at the mercy of the airline, especially given many airlines are not prone to let their passengers know of their rights. So, what rights exactly, do passengers have?

Please note the text below applies only to those passengers who are either:

  • flying within the European Union with an either EU or a non-EU airline
  • Arriving in the EU on an EU airline
  • Departing the EU on either an EU or a non-EU airline

Flights arriving in the EU, but are operated by non-EU airline are NOT eligible for compensation under EU Regulation No 261/2004. If you’re bored out of your mind at the airport and have nothing better to do, you’re welcome to read the law in detail here, or you can read our summary below.

If your flight is delayed for more than 2 hours, the airline is required to provide food and drink. For overnight delays, you are also entitled to hotel accommodation. If your flight is delayed for 3 hours or more, you are also entitled to a financial compensation, the exact amount depending on the length of your flight:

  • Short-haul flights (up to 1,500km) – €250
  • Medium-haul flights (1,500km to 3,500km) – €400
  • Long-haul flights (more than 3,500km) – €300 if the delay is between 3 and 4 hours, and €600 if the delay is longer than 4 hours

The price you paid for your ticket does not affect your compensation, meaning it is entirely possible to get a €250 compensation for a £20 flight.

You can submit your request for compensation directly to the airline. However, airlines tend to contest, delay, and reject requests for compensation, making the process arduous and tiresome. If you do not want to deal with the airline, or you have tried and were unsuccessful, you can instruct solicitors who specialise in Flight Delay Claims to deal with the airline regarding your compensation claim on your behalf.